Ben Duckett has been named among the top five players in the game for last year by Wisden.

The outstanding performance of the Northants batsman in 2016 earned him a spot in the 154th edition after he scored 2706 runs.

The feat by the left handed cricket star is the highest in seven years in an English season since Marcus Trescothick. Trescothick, who is also a left hander, scored 2934 runs in 2009 in an English season but no one has come close to breaking his record.

Duckett played for Northants in all formats last summer, scoring the match winner in the semi final of the NatWest Trophy T20 Blast. He also impressed for England at the tri nations series and in the one-day international series in Bangladesh.The player hit two half centuries to help his country win the series and it earned him a spot in the Test team in the India tour. (more…)


Alastair Cook, the captain of the England’s Test team had noted that considering the conditions of play they found themselves in, they needed to play the perfect game if they were to have any chance of beating India, but they failed to and made a mess of the whole situation.

He also attributed their failure to the absence of the world-class spin options which they had fully utilized back in 2012 when they stunned India. This he said on the heels of their 3-0 whitewash by the hosts in the five-match Indian Test series.

England beat India four years ago at their home (in India), and still maintain the record as the last team to ever win a series in India, where spinners, Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar reveled in the playing conditions with able support from James Anderson, prolific paceman and wicket taker.

The series had seen Panesar take 11 wickets while Swann picked up eight more thus pushing England forward to thrash India by 10 wickets at the Wankhede Stadium. (more…)

Graeme Swann believes the wicketkeeper of a team has to act like a skipper

Graeme Swann believes the wicketkeeper of a team has to act like a skipper while the team is bowling.

It’s his duty to create some buzz and buck everyone up when the intensity goes down.

Remembering Matt Prior, the keeper who kept for Swann for almost whole his career, the off spinner wrote in one of his pieces that whenever Prior was behind the wickets, there was no question of the team drifting away from the game because he would always shout, would pat the bowlers he thought were losing the plot. The current English keeper Bairstow can take a leaf out of his book as he is not that chirpy.

Swann believes there are two kinds of bowlers, one like him who, when he was smashed around by the batters, would prefer to be alone and not to be chatted with too much and try and find a way out himself and the other like Moeen Ali who, in that situation, would like someone to come to him and say it’s alright, keep going. As per Swann, at Kia Oval, when Moeen was taken for a boundary every third or fourth ball he was bowling, Bairstow or any other senior player should have gone to him and provided him that encouragement, but, nobody did that. (more…)

The top order left handed batsman Gary Ballance would like to believe he is a little unlucky

The top order left handed batsman Gary Ballance would like to believe he is a little unlucky to miss out on selection in the England test squad for the tour to UAE where a 3-match test series against Pakistan is to be played.

Ballance was dropped after two consecutive low scores in the second Ashes test this year.

More than the scores, it was Ballance’s way of batting which led to his axe. He was just not being able to provide any sort of momentum to the England innings batting at no. 3.

After Ballance’s exclusion from the squad, it’s Ian Bell who batted one down and although, he scored a couple of fifties, he did not look that comfortable at that position.

The player who replaced Ballance in the squad i.e. his Yorkshire teammate Jonny Bairstow batted at no. 5 and he did not pile on runs either.

So, it was believed Ballance might make a comeback for the Pakistan series considering the fact that the pitches will be slow in Emirates and thus, the weakness of the left hander against the short pitched bowling is less likely to be exposed.

But, the selectors decided to go with James Taylor who last played red ball Cricket for England 3 years back, but, has been part of the limited over set up for the last few months. (more…)

Graeme Swann would probably be thinking that he retired from international Cricket

After playing in the second All Stars game and performing the way he did, Graeme Swann would probably be thinking that he retired from international Cricket a bit too soon.

The off spinner was one of the good performers for the Blasters who although ended up losing the game, but, had it not been for Swann, the margin of the defeat would have been more than it eventually was.

Swann did his job both with bat and ball. He first broke the opening stand between Michael Vaughan and Matthew Hayden which was looking quite threatening and then, when his turn came in batting, he scored quick 22 runs at the end and built a strong 7th wicket partnership with the former South African captain Shaun Pollock to make sure that the Blasters got close to the target of 263.

Swann came to bat at no. 8 which was the spot where he used to bat in international Cricket too. He was never quite an all rounder playing for England.

But, one would imagine that on these short grounds and against the bowling of some of the players in their fifties, Swann can easily bat slightly up the order and he has that capability to clear boundaries. He is a fine slog-sweeper of the ball especially against the spinners. His swing of the bat is as smooth and clean as anyone. (more…)

Steven Smith might have risen to the top of the world rankings in test match cricket

Steven Smith might have risen to the top of the world rankings in test match cricket, but, Graeme Swann still does not seem to rate him that much.

According to Swann, Smith is not technically equipped enough to be successful at the one down position in English conditions.

Speaking on a channel about Smith, Swann said, “I am yet to be convinced about his technique to be honest. For him to score so fluently over the last year or so, it’s a bit of a surprise, not only for other people, but, probably for himself as well. He will obviously want to keep up his good work, but, a tough challenge is awaiting him if he bats in the top order and the ball does a bit.”

“In the past, there have been some Australian players who had that intimidating touch in them. You talk about Matthew Hayden, Steve Waugh and guys like that. They would make you lose sleep. I am not sure Smith is one of those blokes. Every time you see him bat, you feel there is some weakness.”

Swann might not be that wrong in saying that Smith has not got a perfect technique in the world, but, the performance of a batsman does not depend entirely on technique.

A lot of foreign players, with a vulnerable technique, have come to England and scored runs.

There is no reason, Smith can’t. (more…)

Graeme Swann does not want to see Joe Root leading

Graeme Swann does not want to see Joe Root leading the Three Lions in near future.

There has been a lot of buzz about Root in England at the moment. People want him to be appointed the captain in all formats of the game as soon as possible.

But, Swann reckons if the selectors do that, it will not turn out to be beneficial at the end.

According to Swann, Root is playing his Cricket freely at the moment. He is expressing himself on the field and is enjoying life and his energy in the changing room gives a bit of freshness to the other guys too. All of a sudden, if he is loaded with responsibility, he would be forced to change himself and get calmer and that would not necessarily prove to be beneficial for him. So, even if a situation arises where the selectors need to replace Alistair Cook as skipper, the Yorkshire man should not be considered. (more…)